ETHistory 18552005  Living memory  Departements  DINFK  Weitere Seiten  Professors  DINFK  Eduard Stiefel, 19091978 


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Born in 1909, his father being a painter. He received his diploma in mathematics at the ETH Zurich in 1931, after which he went for short stays to Hamburg and Göttingen. From 19321936 he was assistant at the ETH Zurich, first to Walter Saxer in visual geometry, then to Michel Plancherel at the seminar for mathematics. He got his doctorate in mathematics in 1936 and continued in Zurich with a teaching position for lectures in visual geometry. He habilitated in 1942, after which he was first private lecturer before he was elected professor in 1943. From 19461948 he was head of the division for mathematics and physics. In 1948 he took over the direction of the newly founded Institute for Applied Mathematics "with the aim to further the introduction of 'programcontrolled calculation' in Switzerland." (Furger/Heintz 1997, 541.) Stiefel somehow came to know that a calculation machine built during the last years of World War II by the German Konrad Zuse was available. He rented the system in 1950 for five years and brought it to the Institute for Applied Mathematics. With his two assistants Heinz Rutishauser and Ambros P. Speiser he planed and constructed the electronic calculation machine of the ETH (ERMETH) which was in operation from 19551963. The ERMETH formed the basis for the education of numerous engineers and mathematicians in digital technology, applied mathematics and programming. In his career he received an honorary doctorate from the universities of Leuven, Würzburg and Braunschweig. 